City Government

Developer After Public Land For Road

Hammer Flt w:caption.jpg
Looks like the Idaho Transportation Department not only holds the key, but they also own the door to the proposed Cliffs subdivision overlooking Lucky Peak Dam east of Boise.

Long time opponent of the project, Tony Jones, claims ITD owns land that Skyline Development has designated as primary entrance to the plateau. He says the 5 acre parcel cost taxpayers $90,000 and was acquired under condemnation proceedings in 1995. ITD got the land as access to a potential second bridge across the Boise River on Highway 21. Jones says it is worth $400,000 today.

Jones claims the property is worth as much as $400,000 and is concerned about the financial mechanism that will put it in the hands of the Ada County Highway District. Generally speaking it is the responsibility of a developer to pay for roads in new subdivisions and then turn them over to the ACHD once the streets have been built to ACHD specs.
Hammer Flat 2.jpg

The GUARDIAN thinks Idaho Transportation Department needs to sell the 5 acres to the highest bidder…creating a highway land speculation deal in reverse. The public already owns the land which a developer needs in order to dedicate it to the public for use as a road–a classic “Catch 22”.

Here are the options as we see them:

–State sells to highest bidder because the land is no longer needed.
–State transfers the land to county for “public purpose”–even though the developer is required to provide access to his subdivision.
–State gets the developer to make an offer in excess of the $90,000 they paid the original owner 11 years ago.
–State offers original owner first right of refusal on the land they took at condemnation.

We also hear that if the original purchase was made with federal highway funds the rules of the game are changed. Now that things are public, ITD will be hard pressed to release the land at less than market value of $400,000. Meanwhile ACHD won’t approve the plan.

While the state owns the door and the ACHD holds the key (they will not pay for the land they require of the developer) it looks like Tony Jones may be the locksmith who knows the combination or how to make a key for the lock. Stay tuned.

UPDATE 7/28/06
A reader called our attention to the following ITD rule for disposal of surplus property which could result in Ada County Highway District getting the land from the state. ACHD has told the GUARDIAN they will not invest any money in the project–it is the obligation of the developer.

The department shall first offer the property at the appraised price to the following: State Agencies, County and City where the property is located, the Highway District in which the property is located.
The state agencies are given first priority to purchase the property, county second, city third and Highway District forth. If none of the above public agencies purchase the property, it will be offered at public sale. The sales price shall include an administrative fee.

Term sales of up to twenty (20) years may be offered at the discretion of the department. (7-1-97)

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. The ‘Cliffs’ must be stopped! I am a long time Boise Foothills resident and my entire family is researching every conceivable means of using our votes and influence in the community to bring this abomination to a halt. We are determined to preserve our heritage and protect the wild animals that use the land targeted for development. We’re taking good notes and were voting. Just say ‘ABSOUTLY NOT TO HAMMER FLAT’!!

  2. Don Tibbets
    Jul 27, 2006, 7:48 am

    I am very thankful that Tony Jones is acting on behalf of MOST of Boise’s residents. This development is opposed by EVERYONE I have spoken to about it, I just hope that local and State government finally listens to the public.

  3. Perhaps it is not too late to change the design of the State quarter.

    The revised version would feature a giant toilet by which public funds are flushed, by agencies like the Idaho State Land Board and ITD, into the hands of the big land developers, cattle grazing interests, etc.

  4. I am having a hard time understanding how we can allow Hammer Flats to go in while we are stoping Harris Ranch until the new bridge is in. Whoever thinks that all of the people who are going to be living there will be using Hiway 21 instead of Warm springs hasn’t been in the area very long. I live less than a mile from Hiway 21 but I work downtown. My natural route has been Warm Springs and it will be the same for the people who settle on Hammer Flats. If you work downtown, you’re going to take Warm Springs. If the state just gives the land away then I think there should be an outcry from this valley that will be heard in Washington…

  5. Mike Reineck
    Jul 27, 2006, 9:32 am

    Both Ada County and ACHD Commissioners might take note of Judy’s unplanned departure before they plunge forward with a development under county standards (1,300 units) when the city would allow 500 units and wild life mitigation might support 200 units. With Harris Ranch coming back with approximatley 2,500 units, go take a look at Barber Valley’s future: Drive Eagle road at 5:30 Pm. Open a window and breath deep. Earplugs recommended.
    Also agree with Val Isle that the Skyline Development’s traffic assumptions are way off base in assuming most traffic is headed toward I-84 or Micron.

  6. If ITD owns 5 acres there that equals 217,800 square feet. For a simple example, if the Cliffs need for a driveway or approach is 217.8 feet along Warm Springs Avenue (which used to be SH-21 and got federal aid, which Warm Springs Avenue probably still does), then 1,000 feet between Warm Springs Avenue and the Cliffs would be part of that 217,800 square feet (5 acres).

    This is just a simple example. I am sure 5 acres there is worth much more than $400,000 today. Probably between $900,000 and $4,000,000, depending on who is doing the assessing. I like your idea of the State offering original owner first right of refusal on the land they took at condemnation. If the feds, state, county and ACHD are involved then it will probably never get resolved. Don’t forget Boise City trying to get into their area of impact. Another variable thrown in with FHWA, ITD, Ada County, ACHD (another kingdom supposedly reporting to Ada County, but a person could never tell), and don’t forget the original owner and many other developers beside the ones for The Cliffs. Keep Hammer Flats Flat! Ranch Harris Ranch. Make Love, Not War. Etc.

  7. It seems to me foothills developement is okay as long as it is in Boise City limits. Harris Ranch, Arrowhead Canyon, Becker Ridge, new portions of Somerset Ridge, and Boulder Heights Estates are all new developements in the Foothills and Boise City. Where has been the oppositions to these? Kastera Homes is looking at developing 270 acres in the foothills (Boise City).

    Boise City has been the one to drop the ball on the Kastera property and Hammer Flat. They entered into negotiations on both of these properties for the Foothills Levy.

    There are worse options for wildlife on Hammer Flat. It is called an 8 foot fence. The recreation opportunites -climbing in Carbox Canyon and paragliding- could also cease with the same 8 foot fence.

  8. Chris H- Ada County Voter
    Jul 27, 2006, 10:26 am

    No sweetheart deals will be tolerated! If Skyline development needs this ITD owned land to facilitate construction of their 1,400 home development and unlocking of millions of dollars of profits, they need to purchase the land at fair market value as the higher biddder.

    If they’re intent on destroying Idaho’s wildlife, clogging Boise city streets with traffic, polluting our air & water, and crowding our schools, they at least need to bear the appropriate costs in doing so.

  9. Rock Climber
    Jul 27, 2006, 11:05 am

    Not sure what you’re implying. Are you saying the landowner will use blackmail to get what he wants? “If you don’t let me build my mega subdivision I’ll build a wall around it and keep all of you recreationalists off it and starve the winter range animals to death that have inhabited this ground for 100’s of years.”

    Is that what you’re saying? If so, WOW! If that’s the mentallity of the current land owner we’re in much greater danger than I ever could have imagined. Guess if that’s the way it going to be fine. Hope they can live with their conscience knowing they’ve destroyed 1000’s of people’s quality of life. I know I couldn’t, but then again I’m not a greedy snake in the grass. Doesn’t seem like a very smart way to run a business either. Know who I would never buy a house from.

    Also, not that big of a deal if you take the Car Body Canyon climbing away. Have climbed there in the past and it’s not good. Way too hot most of the time and the rattlesnakes are too much of a nuisance to make it worth the trouble.

    As far as the paragliders go, guess if they fear losing their hill, speak up now! All 5 of them.

  10. I think it would be better for all you new timers ( anyone that hasn’t been in Boise since 1942) pack up and leave. I don’t like the whining about people moving in…. You sure the heck moved in on me!

  11. The Cliffs development on Hammer Flats is so full of bad promises. Developer dollar signs do not promote good growth. Indeed, one wonders whose pockets the developer lines with green. Hammer Flats was initially zoned for 1 house per 5 acres; not 5+ houses per 1 acre. Where are the promises that the county initially made about controlled growth in the foothills? Remember the slogan: Idaho is too great to waste? We don’t want our foothills to be a memory and look like California. Please don’t waste Hammer Flats.

    EDITOR NOTE–Our sources say Hammer flat is still zoned at 1 hours per 40 acres.

  12. Dumb, and really dumb.

    When ITD originally purchased this property, the idea was to have it in reserve for future expansion of Highway 21. That seemed like a reasonably farsighted, intelligent thing to do back in 1995.

    Currently, they are exploring options for declaring the land surplus as part of the process to transfer ownerhsip of the property to the Hammer Flat developer.

    That might make sense if, the land truly is surplus and therefor is no longer needed.

    The trouble is, ITD recently got funding ($200,000 total, $40,000 from Ada County according to COMPASS staff) for a Highway 21, Boise to Lowman Corridor Study. The purpose of the study is to find out what will be needed in the way of road improvements and associated land acquisitions in coming years as Highway 21 is required to carry ever higher traffic volumes.

    So, we seem to have ITD declaring land to be surplus with one hand while the other hand looks to see how much they will need to acquire.


  13. There are places where houses should not invade the landscape. Hammer Flats is one. How do we get beyond this “My land and I’ll do what I want with it, the deer and anteloped be damned” mentality. Build a fence…whats that, but a pitiful and desperate attempt to use private property rights to rape what most in our area feel is a community gem. What happened to leaving a legacy? To caring for our neighbors as we care for ourselves? Utter unfettered greed should be looked upon with disdain by everyone in Ada County who loves where they live and how they live.

  14. Rock Climber- I was not implying anything. I was showing what other alternatives (Grazing) could of happened to this property if not purchased for development. The wildlife and a few dogs would be shutout to protect the grass/feed for the cattle.

  15. Rock Climber
    Jul 27, 2006, 3:46 pm

    cman- you don’t need an 8′ fence to keep cows in. Last I checked they don’t jump. Deer & antelope have no problem getting over a 4 footer. You’re not making sense.

    EDITOR N OTE– Somebody get to the point please!! It appears “if ya aren’t for it, yer agin it,” to paraphrase a fazmous president from Texas.

  16. I think Porcupine hit it on the head. Developments feed developments and most of the attitudes speaking in this forum so far on this issue sound like a product of the invasion that the developers have brought to us. It is understandable people wanting to move and live here to share our quality of life, but I would rather they be herded into some type of development than left to roam and set up camp wherever. So, …. for these developments we need developers.

  17. If I had a hammer...
    Jul 27, 2006, 4:27 pm

    I am adamantly opposed to the destruction of this parcel of land that has been a winter home for deer and elk for untold millenia. As a fourth generation Idahoan, I am disgusted with the development that is taking away our treasured way of life. Hammer Flat needs to stay as it is; no transfer of land for any amount of money for the annihilation of this animal habitat. Once our open spaces are gone, they are gone FOREVER. Keep out of Hammer Flat!

  18. So… what exactly gives us all the right to tell someone what they can… and can not do with their own land? Heck, look at that poor guy in the Nampa/Caldwell area. He has a block of land, right off the freeway, that he can’t get to. He can’t get a right of way to it, the government won’t help, so he has basically wasted money buying that property.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty much playing devil’s advocate here. the 1 house per 40 acers, I like. 🙂 But, it IS someone’s property, and it seems that one of the principals of our coutnry is the right to owning your own land, and not having governmental interferance. I DO agree, that if the developer wants that 5 acres, he should have to bid on it in a public auction.

  19. Anybody know why they want that particular stretch of land? There is some land slowly being developed on the other side of the canyon from there and which is surrounded by grazing. I may be wrong but it may have less of an issue with wildlife since it is not directly adjacent to the mountains.

    Tony your point on the ITD condemned land is excellent. Was it acquired through direct legal action or the threat of it? They had to make a representation that the land was “necessary” for a public purpose. I would think that would undermine the credibility of the ITD in their next attempt to take land. It also appears our government is in the land speculation game.

  20. Winter range, “schminter” range. Who cares! I just hope to the Lord above that I am still alive when the ITD and the ACHD finally tells all those folks in the big homes on Warm Springs that they are going to have a 4 or 6 lane road running through their front yard. Man! Is it going to hit the fan or what! It still is a question of whose ox is being gored.

  21. Sisyphus,

    Regarding wildlife on the opposite side of the canyon, you are right on. According to Fish and Game, the winter deer counts on the south side of the river are about one percent of what they are on the north side.

    On your other point, ITD acquired the land through direct condemnation proceedings. I don’t have the docket number handy, but I can get it for you tomorrow if you are interested.

    I also think your point about undermining their credibility in similar future procedings is excellent.

    Consistent with this point, I have had several contacts with ITD over the last couple of days in an effort to find out if they have a procedure, a set of guidlines, by which they determine, and document, whether or not an individual property is no longer needed. Like the quest for the grail, the chance for success does not look promising.

    Unless I get a better response in the next couple of days, I have to assume that the process is completely arbitrary, and therefor subject to abuse.

  22. Tony,
    ITD should primarily operate under the State Code and IDAPAs. You have already found the state code. See the IDAPAs at the link below. 39.03.45 may be helpful to you.

  23. I did a quick check on line Tony. Go here:

    It appears the declaring of surplus is up to the discretion of the Chief of Highway Operations. But it also says that “[b]ased upon recommendations by the District Engineer and concurrence of the Materials, Planning, Maintenance,Traffic and/or interested headquarter sections, property no longer useful or usable for the needs of the Department is recommended for disposal.” Once that is done they get an appraisal and if its greater than $10,000 they have to offer it at the appraised price to State Agencies, County and City where the property is located and the Highway District in which the property is located. The state agencies are given first priority to purchase the property, county second, city third and Highway District fourth. If none of the above public agencies purchase the property, it will be offered at public sale.

    I did not locate any regulations upon which the Chief must follow to declare property surplus. But you can take a stab at it here:

  24. Dear Sisyphus and The Pirate.

    At the earliest opportunity, send your resumes to ITD. Given that you have answered, in less than 24 hours, a question which one or more ITD directors (and one Deputy AG) have been unsuccessfully “investigating” for more than 10 days, it seems to me that there should be at least one high paying ITD (and one AG) job opening up in the near future.

    Thanks for the help.

    EDITOR NOTE–GUARDIAN readers do it again!!

  25. I wanted to mention to Cyclops that many people and agencies are working hard to avoid making the historic district on Warm Springs the arterial you describe. The key is the bridge at Harris Ranch. I for one am doing all I can to discourage more traffic beyond the Mesa by supporting all traffic calming methods, like stop lights, stop signs and roundabouts along Warm Springs. You’ll see some of those changes in the near future. But that bridge has got to be built.

  26. Everything about The Cliffs is a sham. The developers are getting around zoning restrictions by saying its a “planned community” where people will work. It isn’t. Ada County politicians need to follow the wishes of the community–the newly updated Comprehensive Plan, Blueprint for Good Growth & COMPASS plans all say any development in the foothills must be greatly LIMITED. No access should be needed to The Cliffs because The Cliffs shouldn’t be allowed to be built in that location.

  27. I may be giving ITD more credit than they deserve, but I assume they are aware of their own administrative rules. Their failure to provide a list of those rules to me seems to imply that they have been operating outside their own rules. I realize that in a one party system such actions are not news.

    In my reading of ITD’s rules it seems that, short of a public sale, about the only way they can transfer the use of the land to Skyline is to have ACHD purchase the land from ITD, either outright, or with Skyline reimbursing ACHD for the cost.

    Either way, it makes ACHD an agent of Skyline in the acquisition of Idaho State property, the primary benefit of which will accrue to Skyline.

    Much as ITD, ACHD, Ada County and Skyline may hate it that brings up the Idaho Code again. (Pesky laws!)

    EMINENT DOMAIN 7-701A. . . . . .
    (2) Eminent domain shall not be used to acquire private property:
    (a) For any alleged public use which is merely a pretext for the transfer of the condemned property or any interest in that property to a private party; . . . . . .

    Maybe the attorneys could beat that rap, maybe not. One way or the other, it will take a couple of years.

    What won’t take a couple of years is the November election. Two ACHD commissioners, John S. Franden, and a Sherry Huber, are up for reelection. Significantly, John S. Franden represents, sub-district 3, north and northwest Ada County, the area in which Hammer Flat is located.

    ACHD elections are often low key affairs. However, watching Franden, and this issue, twist in the wind ought to make his race more interesting than usual.

  28. Treva Hamilton
    Jul 29, 2006, 4:22 pm

    I love the way developers latched on to the term “planned community.” Wasn’t Hidden Springs supposed to be a “Planned Community?” The last time I drove through there I saw no sign of anything that resembled a business except for the cute little drugstore, which seems to be run by one or two people, the fire department (which employs how many people?) and the post office.

    There is no grocery store, is there? How about a high school? One has to assume that Hidden Springs generates a lot of traffic down the Hill Road Parkway. Actually I don’t assume, I know it, because it is the sensible way to get from Eagle to Boise and avoid State Street.

    The Cliffs would do exactly the same thing -generate a lot of extra traffic- except that there aren’t a lot of homes along Hill Road Parkway (yet)to be impacted the way Warm Springs residents will be impacted. If I owned a home on Warm Springs I would be lobbying my representatives at every level to stop growth up Highway 21.

    The other thing I have noticed is that neither ITD nor ACHD seem to think very far ahead with regard to building setbacks. Notice how buildings have been permitted at Gary Lane/Glenwood/State St. to be practically abutting the roadway. How can any widening take place without huge costs for the county/state to purchase additional lane space. What stupidity and lack of foresight. ACHD needs to be melded into County government and there should be five county commissioners, in my opinion, so as to keep them reasonably honest. I don’t know what should be done with IDT. Look what they did to Eagle Road. What a nightmare.

  29. curious george
    Jul 30, 2006, 12:04 am

    Mr. Jones,

    It sounds like you’re very familiar with the Hammer Flat area – you live there don’t you? Do you have a fence around your property – maybe just to keep your dogs from running wild? As I understand it the land is currently zoned to allow it to be subdivided into 40-acre lots. There’s still a lot of money that could be charged for those ‘primo’ lots (you should know, the views are pretty good). Of course, every one of those new homeowners will fence their property – with fences high enough to keep their horses and animals on their ranchettes.

    Oops, no more wildlife habitat – but that’s the law.

    If there were only some way to permanently protect the habitat – maybe use some of that ‘Foothills Levy’ money to buy the land and turn it into a publically-owned perpetual wildlife preserve. But Boise hasn’t lifted a finger to purchase the land, even when it was for sale before Skyline bought it, but the city seems to be in a hurry to extend its area of impact to include the Hammer Flat area. Anybody wonder why? If you think it has something to do with ‘wildlife habitat preservation’ you would be sorely disappointed. But please, Mr. Jones, your credibility would be helped if you sold your property first – and moved you & yours off the plateau.

    Please remember that it was the last previous owner of the land that planted the alfalfa and set up the cattle watering troughs on the property that drew the deer, antelope, and elk to the Flat. This human intervention drew the herds, which you now have the pleasure of viewing from your kitchen window. Unfortunately, after three burns, cheek grass is the only thing left growing up on the Flat (except of course, the green landscaping around your house). The only thing that keeps the animals there during the winter is ingrained migratory imprinting, and that they aren’t being spooked by too many people (except those who already live there – and their dogs). Since cheek grass is such a poor source of nutrition, if the herds actually had to move around too much in the winter, the caloric demand would force them to the point of starvation.

    I’m not trying to be too pointed in my comments but this land has been in successive private ownership since the Shoshone-Bannock were lied to in the 1863 Fort Boise Treaty (left unratified by Congress, but only after the Native Americans were ‘displaced’ – a nice way of saying they were run off at gun point). The aboriginal people of this valley had to wait until the 1868 Fort Bridger Treaty before they received even a small portion of compensation for their relocation – and then they were never fully compensated for having been run out of the Boise Valley (because by 1868, they didn’t officially exist in the Boise area did they?).

    So let me see. If the public doesn’t want to (or can’t afford to) buy the land, what are the choices left. 1) The land is parceled up into 40-acre lots, with fences, no public access, and no wildlife habitat, or 2) One half of the land is developed, and the other half (~350 acres) is permanently set aside as a rehabilitated wildlife area – at no cost to the tax payer.

    Umm, choices, choices… where’s King Solomon when you need him.

  30. The last guy who failed to make me feel guilty about my current residence was Tucker Johnson, the president of Skyline Development, at the Harris Ranch debate. He lost the debate by a score of 19 – 1. The only vote in his favor came from one of his employees. Call it a shutout.

    If your point is that fewer fences are better for wildlife than more fences, we are in agreement.

    And, as you state, the property has been in private ownership for some time. To that end, it is currently crisscrossed by a number of stock fences. The deer jump them, or crawl through them, with relative impunity.

    At the current zoning levels, Skyline has the “right” to subdivide the property and sell up to 16 individual home sites. This would likely add more stock fences but, again, the deer etc. are pretty good at negotiating them.

    What they are not so good at negotiating is the 6 foot tall ceder fences that come with 1,350 residential lots.

    In my mind, the 16 houses on 40 acre lot option would degrade the wildlife habitat. The 1,350 residence option would decimate it.

    The best compromise for the area is the foothills policy plan. This is the plan that was negotiated by Boise City, Ada County, BLM, a number of developers, and a host of other agencies. Everyone except Ada County codified this plan. Under this plan, Skyline would be able to cluster, and sell, 300 or so homes on one part of the plateau if they left most of the rest of it undeveloped to benefit wildlife.

    This alternative allows Skyline to sell 20 times as many homes as they currently have the right to and it maintains most of the land for wildlife habitat.

    That, I think, is a solution Mr. Solomon would applaud.

  31. Jon Q Publique
    Jul 30, 2006, 7:49 pm

    Access. Access to and from this proposed development is what is important to the developer. Without access the project could die. It seems the ITD owned land is about the only land in the area which can provide reasonable access to the proposed development. The ITD parcel is located on the downtown side of the development.

    The proposed development is surrounded by publicly owned land on three sides. Yes, there are some exceptions but basically it’s surrounded by public lands. That limits access to and from unless some type of easement is granted by public agencies.

    If the developer is to unable obtain the ITD land, the only other potential access points seem to be either through the narrow road (about 20 ft wide) that meets Highway 21 near Sandy Point or narrow streets (about 20 to 30 ft wide depending on the street) such as Brian Way, Teresa Drive, or Eastwood Place in the subdivision on the downtown side of the development. It appears all these streets would need substantial upgrading to provide access to the proposed development. The residents would probably be thrilled to have all that new traffic in their neighborhood. Another option might be to purchase more privately held land on the downtown side of the project to create a corridor perhaps using Highland Valley Road as access to Warm Springs Ave. Expensive but an option.

    Has any group looked into using federal (or state?) land conservation fund dollars to buy this property? Or finding some nice rich person to partner with the Nature Conservatory to buy the land? I guess Foothills levy money is an option but I’m not holding my breath on that one.

    Perhaps the failure of Ada County to adopt the foothills policy plan is something that might be debated during the Commissioners race this fall. Sharon?

    And Sis, that development (Cliffside Sub) on the south side of Highway 21 between the freeway and the river is surrounded by public land on the south and east (river) sides and private land on the west (freeway) side.


  32. Whats yours is mine
    Jul 30, 2006, 11:17 pm

    So, lemme get this straight:

    Tony says there should be no development on the plateau, but he lives there

    Tony says local governments should follow their comp plans, but he lives in an illegal subdivision

    Tony complains about the extra traffic on the streets, but he has to drive anywhere from his house on Hammer Flats

    i heard he works for developers and helped get tamarack through. is that true or not?

    the fact that none of this info is on his website shows he has something to hide

  33. curious george
    Jul 31, 2006, 8:09 am

    Access is the issue. Every land owner in the state is guaranteed access to a public right-of-way. This is true whether the right-of-way is owned by a local highway district or the state transportation department. But, these public agencies can’t be forced to pay for the road built on that access way. Skyline has to pay for all this.

    Maybe letting Skyline develop the land using the city’s foothill ordinance is the best way to go, but check the math (the actual ‘ordinance’ has a very different density bonus formula than that proposed in the ‘policy plan’). If Skyline sets 3/4 of their 707 acres aside as ‘open space’ (even with no public access or habitat restoration) they will be granted a density bonus of 4 dwelling units per acre – in addition to the 17 homes they could build right now. This makes for 724 homes, a little more than ~300.

    I believe the county did adopt the city’s foothills policy plan – but just for the land within Boise’s area of city impact. But I too would like to have this discussed during the election this Fall, but I imagine Paul Woods could provide a little fresher perspective.

    For the record, I’m not even remotely related to Tucker Johnson – or anyone else with a financial interest in the development (including Tony Jones). Now, I’ve never performed a geneological search to prove this, it’s just not my sort of thing.

  34. George,

    You are right, the issue is access. I have no idea if the law says every land owner is guaranteed access to a public right of way. However, I am pretty sure there is nothing on the books that says the state is obliged to grant access wherever a person chooses, especially for free, and especially if they already have access in a variety of other places.

    You are also right that the theoretical maximum number of residences the Foothills Policy Plan would allow is higher than 300. However, in an area with steep slopes and gullies, and with the requisite set asides for roads and sidewalks, about the only way to get more then 300 homes on the remaining 175 acres is put up multi story condo type structures. I have my doubts about the demand for such a solution, but you are right, numbers above 300 are possible with the FPP.

    ps to WYIM

    Everything you said is in the public record and most of it is listed on my various web sites. About the only thing that is not public knowledge are the options I have discussed with Fish and Game for retiring the illegal subdivision, including my portion, from private ownership. I am a very public person. I even sign my own name.

    Tony Jones

  35. Jon Q Publique
    Aug 1, 2006, 8:19 am

    When looking at aerial photographs of this area on the Ada County Assessors web site, it appears there is some type of dirt driveway linking the house on the hill in the Guardian’s photo and Warm Springs Ave. This “driveway” seems to be at the far left of the Guardian’s photo.

    Based on the Guardian’s description in this article of where the State land is located, this “driveway” seems to cut through State property to reach Warm Springs Ave. It appears to do what the developer seems to be asking to do – access Warm Springs Ave. From the aerial photo, the house also appears to have paved access to Brian Way. Does anyone know how this “driveway” got there? Does it cross State land? If it does, why and how did ITD grant access? Or did they?

    Curious George

    You mention “Every land owner is guaranteed access …”. Is there an Idaho Code section covering that? If so, what is it? Just curious.


    Based on comments in this article, I assume you are “King of the Hill” :-). You mention “… especially if they already have access in a variety of other places.” Are you referring to the proposed Hammer Flats development? If so, where are the other access points that you feel are available? Just curious.


  36. It seems inappropriate to me that ITD, a government agency, would be tyring so vigilantly to assist a PRIVATE developer in aquiring PUBLIC land at a lower than market value price in order to assist them in creating a controversial development. Many studies have shown that growth does not pay for itself and in fact is costly to tax payers due. Thus it seems inappropriate for ITD to go out of its way to assist the Hammer Flats developers in aquiring this land at a reduced rate. Does ITD represent the public or private developers? The problems with this development are so numerous that it is impossible to discuss them all in this posting. It does seem though, that one of our public agencies, ITD, ACHD ect. needs to represent the people they were elected or hired to represent rather than representing the interests of private developers. developers.

    Aug 2, 2006, 12:37 pm

    I would bet 99% of those who oppose The Cliffs don’t live in the foothills as a certain editorial this morning suggested. I oppose the raping of this land because it is sacred to the Sho-Ban tribes. Disturbing their cultural sites and burial graves would be a HUGE mistake. Mr Johnson, if you don’t think so, I suggest you spend a little more time studying Native American history & you’ll understand. And you know what? They lived here long before your family did, so drop the “I was here before you were and its my property so I can destroy it if I want” attitude.

    Protect the foothills
    Stop The Cliffs!

  38. This whole discussion could be a mute point if the Ada County P&Z and/or the Ada County Commisioners decline Skline’s application for the “Planned community” and the appropriate zoning changes.

    The question is can Skyline get the application approved without the ITD parcel of land. As I understand it, they own property abutting Highland Valley Road and an acccess point to the Brian Way subdivision. I believe Skyline also owns the private road in the illegal subdivsion on the back of Hammer Flat. Upgrading the two roads with Warm Springs Avenue access could cost peanuts, if there were a bidding war for the ITD parcel.

    EDITOR NOTE–If the daily can be trusted, the ITD has taken their land off the table! Back to square one on the access issue.

  39. Note to John O Public.

    It is my understanding that the driveway you mention is a revokable (sp?) easment. If ITD needs it back, the guy loses it with no compensation. He has “real” access through brian way subdivision.

    The Hammer Flat subdivision has access on Highland Valley road, and into Brian Way subdivision. If may not be the “quality” of access they, or the Brian Way people, prefer, but they do have access.

    PS. As of about 3:30 this afternoon, ITD reviewed the reason they took the property in the first place and decided their justification was still valid, and necessary.

    They are keeping the land, and The Cliffs is checking plan B.

    Tony Jones

  40. Fundamentalist Environmentalism is evil. we should not worship the earth and hug trees. we should utilize it. and keep it clean. just a small incindiary comment from a conservative who likes developement

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